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If you are shopping for a used computer or refurbished computer, you have a lot you need to think about. Buying a machine that has been previously owned can save you a lot of money, but it can also come with a lot of headaches. The important thing is to educate yourself so you know what you are getting into. If you are an educated shopper, you will have little problems spotting a deal and walking away from a technological nightmare. It will take some time in advance, but the effort will be well worth it when you end up with a great machine that does everything you need it to do reliably.
The main benefit of buying a computer that was previously owned is the cost savings you will get. Since the machine is not brand new, you will not pay brand new prices. Like most things, the value diminishes over a period of time once it is out of the store and while you may get a machine that is just as good, or in some cases better, than the brand new product, you will not have to pay the same rate. In addition to getting a great price, you do not have to worry about many of the problems that come with a new machine. New machines often feature software that has undergone minimal real-world trials. An older machine will have all the kinks worked out and you will get reliable software.
Buying older machines means it has undergone quality testing by more than just the company that made it. If you buy the machine from someone who has owned it for a few years, they can explain the ins and outs of using it and what to expect. Even if you buy it from a dealer, they can give you some instruction about the machines quirks. Think about how long it took you to figure out the last new machine you bought. With a previously owned machine, you will have some idea of what to expect. When purchasing a previously owned machine, ask the dealer if they have given it the battery of tests necessary to make sure the machine is working well.
You should also ask if there is a warranty. When you buy a new machine, it will likely come with a factory warranty that will offer a replacement should your machine malfunction. By the time you take ownership of a used machine, this warranty will have run out or it will be void if the ownership of the machine changes hands. Many dealers offer their own warranty for previously owned machines, so before buying, learn what your options are.
Finally, find out if it can be upgraded. There is probably a reason someone turned it in or decided to sell it, so find out why. Just because the machine was no longer right for another owner does not mean it will not work for you. However, it is good to know if you can make improvements, customizing it for your own use.